Retrofitting a Car Alternator for Low-Speed Power Generation (Electrical Project)

This report presents the analysis and methods taken to appropriately modify a car alternator to operate as a low speed generator for wind or hydro power generation. A Toyota car alternator taken from a junkyard is characterized via an Open-Circuit test to evaluate its operating specifications.

The car alternator is also measured to determine its physical dimensions. The acquired values are used with the generated voltage equation to determine the machine’s unknown rotor values— the product of the rotor winding factor and the number of rotor windings (kfNf).

Using the generated voltage equation with the determined machine parameters, the number of stator windings required for the machine to generate power at low speeds is determined. The alternator’s stator is then rewound and remounted to the body of the machine for testing.

Inexpensive scrap materials are used to reduce the cost of the project and to simulate the experience of executing such a project in an environment where high-end tools are not accessible. The methods to disassemble the machine, rewind its stator and reassemble the alternator are noted and recorded to develop a guide that will be accessible to the public.
Source: California Polytechnic State University
Authors: Yuri Carrillo

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